Oh, gosh. Here it is. She’s going to talk about her postpartum body again.
Well, yes, actually, I am. My apologies and no hurt feelings if you move along on your Facebook feed, but here’s where I’m at–
I feel like I’m living with two different people in my body.
On one hand, there’s the new and improved positive-thinking Chaunie. The one who says, “Hey! Give yourself a break! You’ve had four back-to-back pregnancies, you’re not a genetically stick-thin person, and you’ve done this all before. Losing weight for you takes time. You’re already exercising and making healthier choices. Don’t bring yourself down, you’re still beautiful because that body has done beautiful things for these babies!”
And then, on the other hand, there’s the old-thinking Chaunie, the one who wants to berate herself and wail and grab handfuls of her jelly belly and sit around crying because I feel like an obese whale and then eat comfort food and feel worse about myself.
I want to not let the fact that I am overweight right now define me. I want my life to be about more than what I look like and to focus on my beautiful baby girl and how lucky I am to have everything we have and four healthy children and a home and a job that I love, I really do. I don’t think of myself as a horrible person, really I don’t.
And I catch myself every now and then, feeling generally happy and thinking thoughts like, “Life is so great! It’s fall and I love fall and I just got a new writing job and how did I get so lucky?”
And then out of nowhere, a little evil voice in my head will hiss sarcastically, “Yes, but you’re still a fat cow, Chaunie,” and I will come back to earth with a loud thump.
Old habits die hard.
One of the great things about having four kids is that I’ve been down this road before and I kind of knew this was coming. I hoped it would be differently this time, of course. I’d hoped I’d give birth and miraculously be one of the skinny ones whose weight just melts off, but of course, it hasn’t. I actually gained weight from my three week check-up to my six-week check up, which undoubtedly, is a new record.
But the hard thing about having four kids is that I’ve been down this road before and I know exactly what lays ahead of me. Months of self-doubt, moments of my life wasted worrying about a few extra rolls that in the grand scheme of things don’t really matter. And as most of us know, it’s not really the weight that bothers me–it’s the fact that it’s so hard to feel comfortable in our own skin, to feel sexy and beautiful again, and to feel like motherhood has not taken every last shred of our identities and flushed it away in a whirling torrent of sleepless nights and cravings.
So while I’m sure I will battle it for a long time, I’m really, really trying hard to focus on fighting the mental battle of this postpartum time for myself this time around. I’m really trying to focus on staying positive, because ultimately, it’s staying positive that will allow me to feel good about myself and help me want to stay active and help me seeing making healthy food choices as a treat for myself, not the other way around.
That’s where I’m at right now.
Trying to reconcile the old with the new, the flabby with the fabulous, the motivation with the dedication.
And recognizing that no matter what, this body deserves my thanks, not my condemnation.